After a successful off-season, the Los Angeles Lakers approach the new season full of optimism. Drafting Lonzo Ball was a landmark moment for the organization, as the rookie was labelled the future of the franchise. Kyle Kuzma has been the steal of the NBA draft so far, with the forward having a superb Summer League. The team signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a guard who compliments Ball perfectly. All in all, this off-season was one to remember in Tinseltown. This upcoming season will determine the future of many players. Most will be looking to make progress, others will be attempting to leave their mark on the league. One big question is, whether or not the team can put an All-Star on the floor at Staples Center on February 18th.
Los Angeles Lakers All-Star Chances
Who is in the Mix?
This roster is young, but the talent is there. Second year forward Brandon Ingram has a chance to shock the league and play on his home court come All-Star weekend. Magic Johnson has already spoken about his expectations of Ingram, saying “It would be disappointing if he didn’t score up toward 20 points per game.” These are hefty expectations for Ingram, but as we discovered at Ball’s press conference, big expectations have become the norm in Laker Nation.
Ingram is expected to have a good year, but whether or not he can make such a big jump, is whole other question.
The Lakers All-Star chances center around the newly acquired Brook Lopez. One of the most talented big men in the league, Lopez offers the team a lot. Capable of scoring 20 plus points a night, he can also shoot the three-ball well enough to be respected. A good passer, Lopez makes the Lakers more competitive. As the Nets All-Time leader in field-goals, expect Lopez to play a key role this season.
However, is this enough to become an All-Star? Question marks over his rebounding and injury history will lead to some doubting his All-Star potential. You can’t control whether a player gets injured or not, but the rebounding shouldn’t be a problem. Lopez is surrounded by young players will plenty of legs under them. Expect the likes of Ball, Ingram, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. to all average at least five rebounds per game. Lopez is the Lakers best shot, but a good season from player and team is needed to make it happen.
Now, as a rookie, this is a long shot to put it generously. Ball is talented, but with so many great guards in the Western Conference, his chances are slim at best. However, Ball’s impact on the Lakers All-Star hopes is greater than you think.
Lonzo Ball Plays a Huge Role
As a pass first point guard, Ball is responsible for sharing the basketball, leading to others having success on the court. With Caldwell-Pope, Ingram and Lopez ready to be fed, Ball should rack up assists for fun. If Ball averages over 10 assists in his rookie year, the chances of a Laker playing in the All-Star game go through the roof. Some have made the bold prediction that Ball will be an All-Star in his rookie year. This is unlikely, but his impact on other player’s and their chances is huge. If you stop thinking about what Ball will be doing for himself and think about the players around him, you’ll realise his long-term role within the team.
Lonzo Ball won’t be an All-Star this season, but averaging 10 plus assists and a few triple-doubles won’t be a bad consolation prize.
Is This All Wishful Thinking?
In a way yes. This is still a very young roster, with a lot of growing to do. Ball, Ingram and Lopez all look set for good year’s, but the team’s success rely’s on the rest of the roster. The Lakers believe they have found a solid 17-man roster. Young, exciting but still naive, this is a hurdle Luke Walton and his players will need to overcome this upcoming season. But when you have a chance, even a slim one, you always have that chance.